~Feeding Chickens 101~
Really when it comes to feeding chickens, it is pretty basic and easy. But there are a few things that are important to know. Here are 5 tips to feeding chickens and laying hens.
- "Chicken Scratch" contains (Cracked Corn, Rolled or Whole grains such as corn, barley, oats or wheat) and helps encourage chickens to scratch the ground and forage for seeds, bugs, etc. Scratch shouldn't be their entire diet, but is a wonderful treat and will help with boredom when they are in the coop. I feed my chickens scratch daily as the biggest portion of their grain needs and supplement their diet with a good source of protein. This gives them a nice snack to fill them up while they are in the coop. Even if I let them "Free Range" I usually throw them some scratch in the morning to make sure they are getting enough to eat.
- A "Laying Ration" is going to be important if you are wanting good egg production. Hens will need a 16% Laying Ration to have the protein they need to lay eggs. I feed a laying ration along with the scratch. The hens go wild over the laying ration and is the first thing they go to when I feed them in the mornings. Which probably means they need it! They can also get some protein from "Free Ranging". I usually feed the laying ration one to two times a day depending on how many chickens you have. It comes in a pellet or crumble, both are great to feed!
- "Grit" is also very important for chickens. Chickens don't have teeth, so they use an organ called a gizzard to break down their food. So feeding them some grit will help break down their food. If your chickens free range they will find enough grit in the ground. However, with predators a lot of times our chickens end up in an enclosed area, so supplementing is sometimes necessary. You can find grit at your local feed store.
- "Water" is paramount to a chickens health! I prefer to use an 8 Quart Feed/Water Bucket. This way I can easily monitor how much the chickens are drinking. I dump it once or twice a day and refill it with fresh clean water. Having fresh clean water is so important!
Feeding chickens can be one of the highlights of the day! They really enjoy their food and it's a lot of fun watching them scratch and peck around to find the tastiest bites! They are so cute!
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